‘Affordable’ items belonging to Hollywood star Doris Day to be sold at auction

By Keiran Southern, PA Los Angeles Correspondent

Film memorabilia, artwork and jewellery are among the “affordable” items belonging to the late Hollywood star Doris Day which are set to go under the hammer.

Day was one of the top box office draws of the 1950s and 60s owing to her girl-next-door image and distinctively sweet voice.

She is best remembered for starring opposite Rock Hudson in romantic comedies including 1959’s Pillow Talk, as well as for sitcom The Doris Day Show.

Items once belonging to the Hollywood star Doris Day are going under the hammer (Julien’s Auctions/PA)

US-born actress Day died in May last year at the age of 97. Beverly Hills-based Julien’s Auctions is now overseeing a sale of property from her estate, with all of the proceeds going towards her eponymous animal foundation, to which she dedicated most of her later life.

More than 800 lots are going under the hammer. Items include Day’s classic 1930 Ford convertible seen in the opening credits of her Best Friends television show (£8,000-£16,000) and a red lacquer Young Chang upright piano (£1,600-£3,200) given to Day by her son, music producer Terry Melcher.

Martin Nolan is the executive director of Julien’s Auction and said the sale is unique because of the relatively low guide prices of the items.

He told the PA news agency: “The nice thing about Doris’s auction is everything is really affordable. She wasn’t an elitist when it came to what she collected.

This Ford convertible once belonged to Doris Day and is going under the hammer (Julien’s Auctions/PA)

“It didn’t have to be big names or big artists. If she saw a piece of art she loved she got it and she hung it on her wall and lived with it and loved it and enjoyed it. It didn’t have to be Monets and Picassos.”

Other items from Day’s home in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California, up for sale include a vintage slag glass floor lamp (£320-£480),  a brass embossed elephant jardiniere given to the actress by Hudson (£800-£1,600) and a square painted yellow tole vase, a gift from Sir Paul McCartney, with a guide price of £160-£320.

Mr Nolan added: “It’s just a really good cross section from a lady who gave us so much joy and entertainment and who lived her life very well.”

Day, whose other film roles include Calamity Jane and The Man Who Knew Too Much, was famously devoted to animals.

Doris Day’s son, the music producer Terry Melcher, gave the actress this red piano, which is being sold at auction (Julien’s Auctions/PA)

Julien’s Auctions is one of the world’s biggest auction houses and has previously handled the sales of items belonging to stars including Michael Jackson, Marilyn Monroe and Amy Winehouse.

Under usual circumstances, the Day exhibition would be open to viewing before it was sold over two days on April 4 and 5. However, due to the coronavirus pandemic, Mr Nolan said the company has taken the “unprecedented” step of providing a virtual tour instead.

Despite the viral outbreak, Mr Nolan said demand has not been dulled and Julien’s Auctions has sold more catalogues for the Day sale than for any celebrity bar Jackson.

The number of people viewing the Day auction is up 50-60% compared to expectations, according to Mr Nolan, who invites anyone to join the virtual bidding.

He said: “It’s a live auction with no-one in the room, so just the auctioneer calling the bids. Anyone at home on their computer can go online and be able to see and hear the auctioneer. Even if they don’t intend to bid, they can just watch.”

The Property From The Estate of Doris Day auction takes place over two days on April 4 and 5, with more information available at juliensauctions.com.